The land that comprises 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan despite rich natural resources remains underdeveloped and continues to struggle to safeguard its cultural fabrics from the dominant groups who continue to clean the little vibrancy remaining in the country.
By Anand Kumar,
The land of the Balochs and one of the four provinces of our neighbouring Pakistan has always remained an integral part of coffee table conversations or a hot topic inside the political circles. The land that comprises 44% of the total land mass of Pakistan despite rich natural resources remains underdeveloped and continues to struggle to safeguard its cultural fabrics from the dominant groups who continue to clean the little vibrancy remaining in the country. Balochis have a rich history that dates back to the 11th century that faded from memories as times passed. Throughout its struggle for independence, the land has never received its long due attention. And now in an attempt to highlight struggles of Balochis in their own land, Azad Singh Rathore’s new book “Balochistan: The Heights of Oppression” is a simple yet perfectly weaved narration that familiarizes a reader with Balochistan.
Balochis share important and close cultural and religious ties with Indian subcontinent. In this book, Azad not only gives readers an account of Pakistan’s oppression while uncovering its inhumane face but also briefly paints Baloch history, geography and their valid demands on the canvas. He also briefly puts how Pakistani government, its political leaders, including army and agencies are not only betraying and oppressing Baloch people but also betraying humanity.
Azad, through his book, explains to a reader that after annexing Balochistan, Pakistan has followed a sustained campaign of social, economic and cultural exploitation. A deep dive into the region’s history, the book introduces a reader to the Greater Balochistan region that was remotely located far away from the Kingdom of Persia in the west and equally at a distance from Indian princely states in the east. Balochistan- a part of Greater Balochistan- is now a disputed remote territory, illegally annexed by Pakistan, lies between Sindh province of Pakistan and the western international border of Iran. The whole region was populated most heavily by ethnic Baloch people and while going through the book, a reader can feel an unreal connection with the region and the people.
The heights of discrimination are such that Balochistan, despite having many natural resources including large reserves of natural gas, gold, copper and iron receives almost no royalties from the Pakistani government. Capturing the real face of Pakistan’s military might, Azad elaborates how the country is suppressing their freedom movement. Balochistan is a living example of how an independent civilization in a modern world is suffering from all kinds of oppression and tyranny where the real owners are even deprived of basic amenities. This book finely exposes manipulated narratives, uncovers half-truths and voices in support of human rights in a region which Pakistan choses to call an “economic liability” but is actually a saviour of its economy.
Azad in his writing describes the history, culture, and Baloch people’s suffering from the last seven decades of pain, atrocity and oppressions that Pakistan has given them to suppress their voice. The book is the author’s efforts to express sensitivity towards Baloch people living in traumatic conditions under suppression and oppressions of Pakistan. Nothing much has been told about Balochistan so far and the land still remains an untold tale. A world that is so near to India, yet remains mysteriously hidden from view. A well-researched and well-curated book, Azad’s work touches on many aspects of the land including its history, economy, socio-political issues, its people and everything that we don’t know about Balochistan.
(The author is Founder of Super 30. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.